Guest Blogger from Kobayashi Online

Ruth and I are THRILLED to have a guest blogger today from Kobayashi Online, courtesy of David Hamilton. With solid reporting and technology experience, David Hamilton is a writer and content strategist who fuses content and purpose to make organizations stand out online. Kobayashi Online is a Toronto web development and digital marketing agency specializing in online friendly solutions for small businesses.

What a fantastic process focused blog it is. We hope you enjoy it!

Use your Processes to Market your Business

Customers will appreciate the “placemat” version of your project roadmap. Don’t overwhelm clients with details or keep them fully in the dark: Focus in on the key processes or landmarks.

Many of us in industries described as creative, entrepreneurial or agile think of our work as complicated and entirely unique, and this approach helps customers choose us over more by-the-book competitors.

Working in digital marketing and web design, experience has shown us that being aware of the processes that are common in the work often separates the successful creative types from the very successful ones.

Breaking a project down into roles and tasks doesn’t devalue the work or make it more rote – it simply clarifies the steps that need to be undertaken. Click to Tweet! An end-to-end examination of your processes can lead to improvements and greater efficiencies. Instead of spending a lot of energy – creative and otherwise – developing a new process for each project, you can concentrate on the aspects of your business that add value.

Once you’ve mapped your procedures and identified the roadblocks and shortcuts…

Flaunt your Processes!

Having a coherent workflow not only helps your business run smoothly, but it can help the public understand your service, know what to expect, and, importantly, what makes you different.

Clients having a baseline understanding of your processes will help them understand what your service entails. And it might even make them better customers.

For instance, when we build a website at Kobayashi Online, we have a set process that gives structure to our work. But it also tells us when to get input from clients to provide a unique and original website, as well as the the flexibility to solve problems as they arise. This is all included in a project roadmap that we give our clients.

We think it’s important – especially with large projects – that our customers know our process upfront so that we can get input from them at the right stages, and that they’re assured that we finish project stages by key dates. This means the website is delivered on-time and represents our best work.

Simplify your Processes: Make them Understandable and Marketable

You might be thinking, “Our internal processes are incredibly complex – how can we even begin to explain them?”

The key to making your process marketable is to simplify:
Try to reduce your processes to just a few steps.
Remove industry jargon that might make sense to you and others in your industry (unless your intended customers are technical and fluent in your jargon).
Think about how your processes would appear to your customers, and what language can make your processes understandable and enticing.
When you have a high-level process overview from the customer’s perspective, you can present this on your website, in brochures, newspaper ads, and however else you find customers. We think this paints a better picture of your service than a simple description that’s nearly identical to competitors. Breaking down your processes into understandable steps shows you have the plan needed to get the work done.

When we build a website, we simplify hundreds of steps into a process blueprint that customers can understand:

When clients sign on for a service – whether it’s web design or anything else – they’ll get exactly what they expected (if you hold your side of the bargain – that is), so they’ll have more realistic expectations and be more knowledgeable about the state of their project.

Understanding your internal processes gives you a detailed roadmap; your customers will appreciate a simplified this roadmap, like the map you’d find on a placemat or a tourist map that removes some details so it can focus on landmarks and things to do.

This simplified version shows enough for customers to feel confident but not enough to be overwhelmed. This way, you and your clients will understand precisely where the project is heading and what’s involved. And since you all know the processes, you’re less likely to get lost when work’s underway.
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Tell us what processes you need in your business! Follow us on Twitter @whiteboardcons and use #betterfastercheaper.

Until next week,
Nicole (& our friends from Kobayashi Online!)

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